Chicago affiliates held a beautiful reflection this afternoon on the life and gifts of Jim Madden MM. After some initial sharing of stories and personal experiences with Jim, we let Jim speak to us as we read together his essay on “Visioning with the Maryknoll Mission Movement.” We ended with the following chant:
At wind-swept gatherings of the Aymara community on the Altiplano, ¡Presente!
At cross-cultural celebrations that find the Sacred in all peoples and traditions, ¡Presente!
At chapter and conference meetings of Maryknoll Affiliates all over the world, ¡Presente!
At vocation seminars and one-on-one accompaniment, ¡Presente!
At Society gatherings, fellowship, and liturgical services, ¡Presente!
At Congregational collaborations and joint visioning, ¡Presente!
At local and national actions to live and promote social justice, ¡Presente!
As long as we live, he too will live; for he is now a part of us, as we remember Jim. ¡Presente!
Pat Denevan: I was 19 years old when I entered the Maryknoll Seminary in Mt. View, CA, to study Latin for one year. With a young heart burning with missionary zeal, I completed 8 more years of study and was ordained a Maryknoll priest in 1963. However, in 1970, after seeing the hopes of Pope John XXIII fading and the windows of the 2nd Vatican Council being closed, I decided to leave the priesthood. With a sad and confused heart, I left Maryknoll and was “reduced to the lay state,” according to the official document I received from Rome.
One joy of being an Affiliate is walking together in the expression of our Global Vision pillar. Sometimes we support one another without fully realizing the full extent of our contributions. One project that Affiliates have encouraged has blossomed into a multinational campaign to eliminate domestic violence.
My daughter, Kimberly Bautista, is an activist filmmaker. Since the Greater Los Angeles Chapter was an early contributor during a kick-starter campaign, she shared a screening of a rough cut of her documentary film, Justice for My Sister, at the Western Regional Affiliate Conference in San Diego in 2010. The film explores the problems of femicide (murder of women) and impunity in Guatemala by following the lead character, Rebeca, as she seeks justice for the murder of her sister. A rich discussion was held after the screening regarding the themes in the film. As a result several Affiliates made financial contributions towards the completion of the film.
“Who do you say that I am?”
Have you met the thems? Did they speak another language? Do they have AIDs? Do they observe another faith? Are they mentally ill, immigrants, disabled, homosexual, felons, or a different race or economic class?
The Maryknoll Affiliate Mission Statement asks us to cross borders, geographic and otherwise. The Maryknoll Lay Missioners say they build bridges connecting us to others.
During our brief time with Bertha Haas in Mwanza, Tanzania, she told us that when she was a Lay Missioner through 2011, she saw disabled children being regarded as them. That treatment inspired her to found the Huruma Centre School for handicapped children. David and Caitlin Rosser, MKLM, carry on her work.
Some parents from an adjacent school asked Caitlin, “Will my child get sick if he plays with them?” A principal at a public school was incredulous when she saw that a young girl with misshapen arms was not only able to type on a keyboard but could actually read what she typed. Some other Tanzanians doubted that any teachers would be willing to work with disabled children not their own.
These are just a few of the highlights of my Friends Across Borders (FAB) journey to Kenya with the Maryknoll Lay Missioners in September 2013. I think I have always wanted to visit Africa because I feel African music and dance express all the best emotions of life with the whole body. This trip immersed us in the lives of the people of Kenya in Eastern Africa and the ministries of the Maryknoll Lay Missioners.
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Being Maryknoll Affiliates has connected us with peace-building, so we were primed for the new JustFaith module, Just Peacemaking. Karen Bortvedt, who was back home visiting her parents and recuperating from a broken foot, also joined the group.
Our chapter was blessed in November by a visit with Maryknoll Lay Missioners Kathy Bond and Flavio Rocha. We learned how they live in mission in Brazil and were inspired to find new ways to be missionaries in our own area. During and after a potluck dinner, they shared their experiences.
Kathy and Flavio are long-time Maryknoll Lay Missioners in Sao Paolo. Kathy has been a Lay Missioner for 20 years and Flavio for 10. Meeting in Brazil, Flavio’s native country, they married 13 years ago, and have a daughter, Maya, 8.
After arriving in Tanzania in early 2013, I began assisting at the Kirumba Vocational School at St. Joseph Parish, Mwanza, for teenagers who are not able to pursue further academic studies. They learn cookery, tailoring, knitting and embroidering, as well as hospitality, hotelier, and wait service, hoping these skills will help them get a job. Some students may intern as a hotel maid or wait staff person while continuing to take English and mathematics classes.
The Call to Action Conference (C2A) in Milwaukee was a profound renewal of our baptismal call.
From Nancy Sylvester’s pre-conference session on compassionate conversing, to Miriam Therese Winter’s final keynote reminding us that though we have to live institutionally, we must never think institutionally, we were challenged to remember, “We are the Church.” Therefore, although we can rejoice in the freshness of Pope Francis, it is we who will bring the changes we want to see in the church. There is no stopping the Holy Spirit if we will just align ourselves with her.